Letters to the Editor
I was born and raised in Blaine and I enjoy catching up on news from the area via the internet. I will be watching future editions of The Northern Light to find out how plans are developing and how those of us who no longer live in Blaine, but called it �home� at one time can find a way to participate in saving the Dakota.
Thank you for your time and for the article. Have a great new year! Doreen Shaver
year gone by
Another year has come and gone and Birch Bay chamber of commerce has seen continued growth and prosperity along with our community.
Notable events during 2003 were the hugely successful Discovery Days parade and Arts, Crafts and Family Fun Fair that featured local, state, and international participants and vendors. The two-day event concluded the second day of fun with a jazz concert courtesy of Blaine Pacific Arts Association.
While there were too many beautiful days to count this past summer I would be remiss if I didn�t mention one of the most fun-filled rainy, yucky days of the summer. The August sand sculpture contest was a spectacular feat of creativity and ingenuity as contestants showed up who had planned for the event and families who joined in when they heard about it that morning. Some photos of the sculptures can be seen at www.birchbaychamber.com, but to give you a teaser there were castles, crocodiles on a golf course, turtles, and sea dragons.
The recently expanded and predominantly new board of directors has been working feverishly on plans for 2004, the first of which will be announced on January 20 at the monthly chamber luncheon held at Stephani�s Restaurant. I would like to encourage anyone within our community that is interested in the youth of the Birch Bay and Blaine communities to attend this meeting as some incredible announcements will be made regarding the development of our youth.
Nick Jerns, president
Birch Bay chamber of commerce
It�s 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. It wasn�t wind, rain, crows or trains that woke me up. It�s the repeated blasts of a shotgun. I peer out my window, �He�s even pointing the weapon in my direction,� I mutter. He�s about 250 yards away but I can�t recall the range of a 12-gauge gun.
Another day, the shots come from a different direction. It is a field which is clearly marked �No hunting or trespassing.� It is surrounded on three sides by residential homes and the field is smaller than a football field. Again, I wondered, �what is the damn range of a 12-gauge?� I am aghast to discover this poacher is shooting at my beloved geese as they sit munching quietly. They�re not even in flight.
When I was young, my father and I would go pheasant hunting. He, our English Setter, and I would depart for distant farmlands in Illinois. We would ask the farmer if we could hunt there, walk for miles from the sight of man, allow the dog to flush the game, and if she did, we might just get a bird. This, I was to learn, was sportsmanship.
It wasn�t what I was witnessing recently. I know people do crazy things when they�re hungry. They steal or dig through dumpsters and simply haven�t the ability to care about anyone else. Somehow these waterfowl thieves seemed not to be motivated by hunger. They seemed blithely indifferent and quite removed from common sense. Well maybe I�m just overestimating the range of a 12-gauge and after all they probably have a license; only trespassing with a little reckless endangerment thrown in. And I being to mutter to myself again. �But a goose has more couth!�
To sum it up: It�s duck season. Duck is a noun, not a verb - it�s not �duck� season!
An injustice was perpetrated in the Blaine community shortly before Christmas. Randy Kirk, unit director of the Blaine Boys and Girls Club since 1994, and one of Blaine�s vital supporters, was quietly fired. The cause: not enough funds raised to meet the budget, according to Lynn Templeton, Whatcom County overseer of the Boys and Girls Clubs.
The local board has neither a skilled fund-raiser, nor any way to successfully solve the ongoing problem of generating funds for the club. Apparently when the crunch came down, the board agreed with Mr. Templeton�s proposal to can the unit director. Some local board members who preside over the Blaine club were not even present when the vote took place to give Randy the heave-ho. Unbelievably, he was asked to not protest this decision, and to keep it quiet.
The unit director has in the past been expected to operate the facility, develop programs, deal with the innumerable needs of some 400 enrolled children and staff, manage the club�s activities, advise both the staff and the board, organize volunteers, operate existing fund-raising activities, and at the same time develop further fund-raising opportunities. Other Boys and Girls clubs in Whatcom County have both an athletic director and a unit director.
For 10 years, Randy Kirk has been a responsible and influential factor in the lives of thousands of our children. He has rarely missed a game, a meet, or an event involving these young people. Their lives have been richer and safer, because of Randy�s presence. The community of Blaine cannot afford to lose this man. Rumor has it � in the absence of actual information � that the position will be filled by a person skilled in fund-raising. This is obviously a good idea.
How did we lose sight of the primary purpose for a Boys and Girls Club? When did the club�s mission become a matter of saving face for board members and county directors who might have to share funds from more populated areas with a vastly larger income base? Did the club board of directors seek out a fund-raising person to help as the costs increased? Did anybody notice the town of Blaine is seriously overwhelmed in the area of fund-raising? Finally, how will Blaine�s children respond when the program�s principal claim to fame is that it is operated by a good fund raiser? Will he or she show up at the game?
Let�s rethink this decision, in a public forum. Let�s offer Randy Kirk � a proven success with kids � tools and assistance he can use to develop funds essential to operating the club. Supporters may email Randy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was raised in Orange County, California � the �big city� � but I�ve lived in the small town of Blaine for the past 12 years. As I made the adjustment from big city life to small town living, the biggest difference I noticed was in the roles played by the schools.
In the big city, school was just another entity encountered by families, no more or less important than the weather, traffic, beaches, crowds, malls, recreation, work, entertainment, and others.
In Blaine, the schools are the heart of this community. I consistently hear statements that include: �great district,� �awesome programs,� and �we always support our schools.� Even those without school age children seem to take great pride in the school system.
It�s important that we demonstrate this community pride in our schools by voting yes to the upcoming levy on February 3. A yes vote means real dollars and cents support that cleans and maintains buildings, lowers class size, and puts gas in buses. It funds extracurricular programs that provide community entertainment and a great source of town pride. More importantly, these programs teach kids powerful lessons, often keep them in school, and off the streets. Further, a yes vote keeps buildings lighted and warm, students safe, the campus secure, and much, much more.
The only real obstacle to a yes levy vote is a lack of understanding. Here are some facts for clarification:
� No tax increase will result from the levy passing. It is simply a vote to continue the already existing level of support established in 2000.
� Only 70 percent of school funding comes from the state. The other 30 percent must come from other sources, including local levy dollars.
� The state does not fund any after school activities, including sports.
� All of the wonderful new buildings have nothing to do with the levy. These facilities were built with bond money, which can only be spent on bond projects. Running the school and programs within these beautiful facilities requires levy dollars. Otherwise, it�s nothing more than a pretty package housing deteriorating basic education.
A yes vote for the school levy means the continued, unwavering support for our schools which has carried on for decades. Please vote black and orange on February 3. Vote yes.
Don�t forget to vote in favor of our school maintenance levy next month. Remember, too, that this is the one that comes to the voting public on a routine basis. It is basic, but just as crucial, too. My community has a long tradition of supporting education. Keep it up. I consider Blaine school district our community�s greatest gem, and one most deserving of public support.
Here is a school that educates children from a wide variety of living conditions including many who are just plain poor. It�s been that way for a long time. Even back to 1948, when I graduated from our school, it was so; my family was so poor that dad supported the hot lunch program with bags of potatoes sent aboard the school bus in lieu of the cash he did not have. Yet our school made me wealthy. Neill Olsen was a magnetic music teacher. I was so taken by him that I have never been able to remove classical music from my life to this very day. In a variety of ways countless numbers of students have become similarly enriched. We are still blessed with magnetic teachers.
Consider the record. Count the number of students who earned doctorates. We have a surprisingly high proportion. Talk to graduates like, for example, Dr. Bjorn Hrutfiord and Dr. Gilbert Seely for starters. They can tell you.
Everyone in Blaine knows I don�t give a hang for sports, or its euphemism known as �athletics.� Yet, I know our school ably offers its students a golden opportunity to develop athletic minds�the only sport I recognize. Development of the mind is a lifetime exercise, and the only one I deem ultimately fulfilling.
Our school is foundational for any student who chooses the pathway of academic and intellectual growth. The opportunity is there for anyone who decides to go for it. Our school is a gem. Vote yes for the upcoming maintenance levy.
Richard E. Clark
It is vital that our community support the upcoming Blaine school district levy on February 3 (or sooner for those of us who vote by mail). There are often misconceptions regarding bonds, levies and school funding. Our proposed levy will not increase taxes and will fund vital services that currently go unfunded, in spite of the state�s responsibility to fully fund schools. In addition, Blaine is blessed with the lowest assessed rate in the county. Vote for kids, vote for our future, please vote for the levy.
As a parent of a kindergartner at Blaine primary I would like to express my support of the upcoming maintenance and operations levy and encourage all residents of our community to support it by getting out to vote on February 3. The levy is not a new tax but continues at its current rate to fund what I consider essentials in any child�s education; music, drama, textbooks, reduced class size librarians, afterschool activities and more.
The children of Blaine school district, the future of our community, should have as many opportunities for success as they possibly can and the levy is a way to ensure that this continues to happen in Blaine.
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
send your letter to:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.
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